Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Castles (10) : Bedford

Only part of the motte now remains of Bedford castle which was built by Henry I sometime after 1100. The castle was greatly expanded during the following decades and was besieged by Stephen in his war with Matilda. The castle withstood the siege though the defenders were eventually starved into surrender.

The castle was besieged again by Henry III in 1224 in an operation involving thousands of men. After the fall of the castle Henry ordered the castle's destruction. The castle was left a ruin, stone from the walls and defences used to build new houses, pave the streets and build a church in Bedford. The castle was partially restored during the Civil War though afterwards became derelict again. The motte was even used as a bowling green! The site of the castle's remains is now an archaeological park.